When Oprah used to announce her favorite things, she would bring grown men and women to tears as they were showered with kitchen gadgets, miracle face creams and even cars. My favorite things may not induce such euphoria, but they may be a chance for you to learn about something that may help you on your journey living with pain. Some of these products I’ve been using for decades and others I’ve only recently discovered and have begun relying on during and in prevention of pain.
1. Heating Pad
For years I turned to the microwaveable or freezer-compatible herbal wraps to manage swollen joints, headaches and flairs of stomach pain. They have a nice weight to them and they’re very portable. However, it’s such an annoyance to constantly reheat them. That’s when I turned to the standard electric heating pad and now I can’t imagine my life without it. Nightly I turn it to the medium setting for a few minutes before I get into bed. Then, I turn it off and let the residual warmth soothe my back and neck.
2. Enso Relief
One of the joys of running a digital health company is the opportunity to be introduced to innovative products and their creators early in their life cycle. Enso Relief is one of these companies that not only has a great story, (their founder, Shaun Rahimi is someone who struggled with chronic back pain) but also has a great product. Enso Relief is high frequency impulse therapy unit that can be controlled by a smartphone and is smaller than a matchbox. I’ve used it as both a preventative and in response to bad pain episodes in my back, neck and leg. While it’s not currently covered by insurance, they do offer a free trial, which you can get here.
3. Massage Therapy
About 2 months ago, in the midst of a terrible pain period, I saw a massage therapist that my husband was swearing by. I didn’t have the highest expectations for anything other than temporary relaxation and release but I was wrong. I now make a point of scheduling a massage regularly as a healthcare experience, which is far from relaxing but dramatically impactful on my muscle and joint wellness.
4. Creating an Instant Steam Room
You don’t necessarily need to hit a spa or a masseuse though for some deep relaxation and relief. I take eucalyptus oil, put it in a little spray bottle and use a few spritzes in the shower when it’s steaming. The combination of the steam and scent transport and relax me.
5. Spotify Playlists
Here’s the thing I love about picking a Spotify playlist. It requires nearly no thought and it instantly can sway my mood. Do I need a pick-me-up when the fatigue is immense? Check. Do I need something relaxing during a stretch of insomnia? Check. Do I need a smile or want to feel nostalgic? Check and check. Someone has already done all the work to find the music that will change my mental state. All I have to do is click and enjoy.
Of course, Branch always helps me track my pain, connect with others, and access new resources. You can download the app for free on iOS or Android.
What do you rely on to keep your pain in check? Is there something new I should try? Let me know!
– Rachel Trobman, Co-Founder and CEO, Upside Health